Current Thinking

a forum for ideas, opinions, and strategies on justice policy and practice

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Oct 6, 2015 In 1978, I landed a job as a community organizer for the Florida Clearinghouse on Criminal Justice. I was fresh out of school, with an MSW in tow. My job was part of a larger organization, Southern Coalition on Prisons and Jails, which had similar organizations in five other southern states. While there, I was introduced to what is now known as “IF,” or the innocence frame—the mindset to work with a much marginalized and really despised group within our...

Oct 5, 2015 */ The Justice in Katrina's Wake blog series reflects on New Orleans' local incarceration practices, the movement to foster fairness in its criminal justice system, and efforts to increase safety for all communities. Norris Henderson is executive director of Voice of the Ex-Offender (VOTE). He is a...

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Oct 2, 2015 When children are harmed or killed, it kicks us in the gut with a steel-toed boot. “How could someone hurt an innocent child?” we ask. But another important question is whether that empathy would still be extended if the victim was 12 or 22, suspended from school for carrying a weapon, armed at the time of his or her death, or previously arrested for assault. Would his or her harm be any less significant? Caring for one another, especially when we’re hurt...

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Sep 23, 2015 */ The Justice in Katrina's Wake blog series reflects on New Orleans' local incarceration practices, the movement to foster fairness in its criminal justice system, and efforts to increase safety for all communities. Minister Rosie Washington is the executive director of the Micah Project, a Pico...

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Sep 22, 2015 K.C. Haggard, a transgender woman, was stabbed to death in Fresno, California in late July in front of multiple people who did nothing to help her. K.C.’s was the eleventh homicide of a transgender or gender non-confirming (TGNC) person reported in 2015 by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP). As of mid-September, that count has already reached 19—up 58 percent from the 12 reported in all of 2014.  In 2014, 80 percent of these victims...
Sep 18, 2015 The casting notice was looking for an actor to play an incarcerated person. But the casting agent wasn’t looking for just anybody—no, they had a specific category of actor in mind: One who looked “like a real prisoner.” Which begs the question: What does Hollywood think a “real prisoner” looks like? Jonathan Braylock, an actor and co-host of the Black Men Can’t Jump (In Hollywood) podcast, who received the casting notice, has a pretty good idea. “The only...

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Sep 15, 2015 When faced with the reality of the justice system’s impact on girls and the lack of reform efforts directed at girls’ unique pathways into the juvenile justice system, Russell Simmons—a longtime advocate for justice reform—acknowledged that he had not been paying close enough attention. “It is time to talk about our girls and criminal justice reform,” Simmons said in a recent Huffington Post blog post. “I have called for an end to mass incarceration...

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